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Dominik Lipnicki: Drawing the battle lines

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The rate war lenders are currently fighting is extraordinary. Consumers are enthused and engaged, which is fantastic. But the market is still not where it should be. We could be doing with the political parties taking on a housing battle of their own. There are plenty of ideas that could catch the electorate’s attention.

What about tackling the problem of mortgage prisoners? These voters make up a large group: around 750,000 households in May 2014 and predicted to include one in ten households by 2018, according to the Resolution Foundation.

The Government should also nudge lenders to create criteria that better reflects everyday reality for borrowers, including working in later life and zero hours contracts, as well as adopting a more sensible approach to interest only lending.

The most obvious area, however, is house building. We need creative and strategic thinking here from all parties. There is land available for building. There is, however, no room left for Nimbyism. Not all greenbelt land is equal and some of it must be considered for building upon. We also need penalties for the land hoarders from the construction industry to supermarkets.

Planning permission is still too difficult to come by and the process remains far too bureaucratic and costly. Post-world war two we managed to build more than 300,000 new homes per year. Now we are lucky to build half that.

Dominik Lipnicki is director at Your Mortgage Decisions

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